Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, a nonregulated commercial brand of Duke Energy, has commenced construction on the 250MW Pisgah Ridge solar project in Navarro County, Texas, US

Once brought into operations, the Pisgah Ridge is expected become the largest utility-scale solar facility in the portfolio of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions.

Charles River Laboratories International, a US-based drug discovery and development firm, has signed a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for 102MW portion of electricity produced at the facility.

Charles River EHS and sustainability senior director Gregg Belardo said: “This VPPA is the first step toward our commitment to source 100% renewable electricity globally by 2030. The benefits of the Pisgah Ridge Solar project move us substantially closer to achieving that goal.”

Along with Charles River Laboratories, two other corporations have also signed separate 15-year VPPA agreements for the remaining 148MW of solar energy generated by the project.

The Pisgah Ridge solar project will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, while Moss will perform the engineering and construction for the project.

The solar project is expected to employ 200 to 300 workers during the construction phase.

Expected to enter into commercial operations by the end of 2022, the project will be able to produce enough energy to power approximately 63,000 residences in the state.

Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions president Chris Fallon said: “We’re excited to continue to grow our Texas solar portfolio, which will provide additional energy resources for the citizens of Texas to help meet their growing demand and need for a more diverse energy infrastructure.

“This project demonstrates how we can address the community’s need for clean energy resources, while providing unique sustainability solutions for customers like Charles River.”

Currently, Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions operates nearly 1.5G of wind, 500MW of solar and a 36MW battery storage facility in Texas.

In May, Duke Energy Renewables started commercial operations at its 350MW Frontier Windpower II project in Kay County, Okla.